SNP table Westminster debate over refugee crisis

THE SNP is to focus on action to tackle the refugee crisis in Europe when parliament resumes this week.
The SNP have tabled a debate on Europe's refugee crisis. Picture: ContributedThe SNP have tabled a debate on Europe's refugee crisis. Picture: Contributed
The SNP have tabled a debate on Europe's refugee crisis. Picture: Contributed

The party said it will dedicate its entire Opposition Day debate on Wednesday to the issue and plans to repeat calls for urgent action from the UK Government.

It follows a plea from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for David Cameron to “do more” to help those in need.

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Yesterday, the prime minister announced that Britain will take ‘’thousands more’’ refugees from camps on the borders of war-torn Syria and provide an additional £100 million in aid for those fleeing the conflict.

The Scottish Government held an emergency summit in Edinburgh involving the Scottish Refugee Council, council leaders, religious groups and opposition politicians to discuss what could be done to help.

The first minister said Scotland should accept 1,000 people as a ‘’starting point’’ for further help and council leaders across the country have signalled a willingness to shelter refugees.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said the prime minister “has failed to show any leadership on the refugee crisis”.

“He must attend this parliamentary debate and show that he is serious about taking action and moving beyond what, to date, has been a slow and wholly inadequate response from his government,” Mr Robertson said.

“The prime minister must outline the full details of whether the UK Government will now offer asylum and protection to its fair share of refugees, and how he intends to work with other EU leaders to ensure multi-lateral action and a long-term solution to the crisis.

“The lacklustre response from the UK Government so far has been deeply out of touch with public opinion.

“The SNP has been calling on the Westminster government to take its fair share for many months - and I raised the issue with David Cameron in June in Prime Minister’s Questions.

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“We need a full debate in Parliament - the prime minister must attend to outline the full details of what he is now proposing and to answer the serious questions MPs will have of the government’s record.”

Labour’s Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray wrote to Mr Robertson yesterday urging the SNP to use its Opposition Day debate to press the UK Government on its “shameful” response to the crisis.

He said opposition parties at Westminster must speak out with “one voice” on the issue.

Mr Murray said: “The UK Government’s response to this tragedy has been shameful and I believe it is important we continue to put the case to the government for providing more support for refugees, and for offering more opportunities for them to find refuge in this country.”